The ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) on Friday announced 143 candidates for the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls scheduled for early next year.
The announcement was made by Public Works Department Minister Shivpal Singh Yadav at a press conference here.
The move is seen as an effort by the SP to gain a psychological edge as it fights a four-year anti-incumbency factor in the face of a formidable opposition by the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party.
The announcement of candidates for 143 of the 403 assembly seats gives a slight advantage to the party for the crucial polls.
Prominent names in the list include Shweta Singh (Lucknow East), Sanjay Garg (Saharanpur City), Manish Kumar Chauhan (Shamli), Atul Pradhan (Sardhana), Anees-ur-Rehman (Kaanth), Sardar Parvinder Singh (Meerut Cantt), Rafeeq Ansari (Meerut City), Chaudhary Saheb Singh (Badaut), Kuldeep Ujjawal (Baghpat) and Ashok Kumar Chauhan (Noida).
The party reposed its faith in Sagar Sharma from Ghaziabad, Rashid Malik from Sahibabad, Dishant Tyagi from Moradnagar, Ram Asrey Sharma (Hapur-reserve) and Vikram Singh Bhati (Dadri).
For now, the party has focussed on western and central Uttar Pradesh. The BJP is very strong in western UP and the ruling party, insiders said, wants to give its candidates the "first-mover advantage" in the region to better its past performance.